The Baikal Mile was Russia’s first festival of speed (on ice), held on the frozen waters of Lake Baikal, near the village of Maksimikha and 230km from Ulan Ude, the capital of the Siberian republic of Buryatia. Between March 15 and March 17, over 25 participants challenged each other to see who was fastest.
Inspired by Bonneville Speed Week
The festival was inspired by the legendary Bonneville Speed Week, held in Utah in the USA on the Bonneville salt flats. Organiser Dmitry Khitrov joined forces with the Fine Custom Mechanics workshop to create an event that he hopes might one day rival with the legendary US festival.
The lay-out is simple: a one-mile track and a three-mile track, ready for racing. However, ice is less reliable than salt because the water under the ice is constantly moving, and due to a large ice shift on the lake a large crack had appeared at 1.4 miles into the track. This meant that the 3-mile races were cancelled due to safety concerns.
157 km/h, not too shabby for a 57-year-old family car
Motul was represented throughout the entire event, with three top Motul athletes taking part in the event. Among them were some of the biggest names in Russian Motorsport: Georgy (Gocha) Chivchyan - the 2018 FIA International drift cup champion and man behind the mad Zimkhana event; Anastasia Nifontova - who was the first woman to finish the Dakar in the #originalbymotul category; and Arkady Tsaregradtsy - who took second place in the FIA International Drift Cup last year, just behind Gocha.
Gocha himself left his Nissan Sylvia S15 drift machine at home and joined the action in a sleek Volga 21, a classic car from 1962. The car is quite simply a glorious piece of Russian automotive history, and it had recently taken part in the Monte Carlo historic rally. Gocha and the Volga put down a top speed of 157 km/h – not too shabby for a 57-year-old family car.
The organisers are really onto something
Anastasia Nifontova represented the two-wheel action during the event, riding a fully electric motorbike from the EMP Smart Moto team. The bike has been developed from scratch by the students of the Moscow Polytech University. She clocked in with a top speed of 105 km/h.
But the most spectacular feat came from Arkady Tsaregradtsy, who achieved a record-breaking pace in parallel drifting of no less than 246 km/h. To achieve this speed, he used a fire-breathing Flanker F prototype, built by Sergei Kabargin who also joined him in the parallel drift.
At its first outing, the event might not have the same huge reputation as its salty American counterpart, but we invite you to check out the gallery below. We think you’ll agree that the organisers are really onto something…